Federal Judge in California Rules State’s Death Penalty is Unconstitutional

I’ve never been a fan of the death penalty. Needless to say, today’s ruling by a federal judge in Orange County, California, that the death penalty is unconstitutional, comes as good news in my opinion. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said today that “the state’s death penalty has created long delays and uncertainty for inmates, most of whom will never be executed.” He noted that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978 but only 13 have been executed. “For the rest, the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution,” Carney wrote. An interesting aside on … Continue reading

America’s Child Refugee Crisis

As a single mother who raised a child alone in America, I know full well what a difficult task that is, especially struggling through poverty through most of the years that I raised my daughter alone. When I read the stories about the children from Central America striking out on their own to reach the safety of what they think in some idolized fashion, is sanctuary in America, my heart breaks. My heart breaks, because on some subliminal level, as a single mother, I can only imagine how much harder it is to raise children alone in Central America, where lawlessness is common thread of the culture. Furthering my discomfort about the facts that drive these children to our borders, is … Continue reading

Reflections on Independence Day

It is Independence Day in America, but rather than focusing on our independence today, I find myself reflecting on our interdependence, because the fact is, we all ultimately rely on one another in this country and on the planet. What we do, how we act, what we say, how we treat others, what we create and what we destroy, are all deeply connected. I feel as though there are a lot of people who have lost sight of this very integral fact of our existence in this country. Recent political decisions and deeper political party polarization has pushed us to extremes, many people are in denial and no one seems to want to budge. But we must budge, we must come … Continue reading

Our Politically Polarized Nation

It has been crystal clear for some time now that our nation has become more politically polarized then ever. Pew Research has a new report out on the topic that is the “largest political survey” in their history in which they conducted “a poll of more than 10,000 adults between January and March of this year.” It finds that Republicans and Democrats are further apart ideologically than at any point in recent history. Growing numbers of Republicans and Democrats express highly negative views of the opposing party. And to a considerable degree, polarization is reflected in the personal lives and lifestyles of those on both the right and left. The info graphics from Pew Research, posted below really speak for themselves: The … Continue reading

Gun Culture is Out of Control in America

 As I sit on the futon trying to concentrate on reading Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich for my Existential Philosophy class I find myself unable to stay focused today. There has been another shooting at a school today, and my heart is aching for the loss of more lives due to gun violence. The question “when does it end?” does not even begin to address the issues at hand. Today’s school shooting in Troutdale, OR makes this “74 school shootings since the Newtown massacre less than two years ago.” 74 school shootings. Michael Luciano echoes some of my sentiments in the Daily Banter today, saying: In this country we always talk about how we can better educate The Children to prepare … Continue reading

An Assault Upon Our Civility

by Walter Brasch   For awhile, it appeared the NRA leadership committed an act of sanity. But, a few hours later, the pills wore off. The story begins with a group called Open Carry Texas (OCT). This fringe group rubbed both its brain cells together, wrapped itself in what it erroneously believes is the Second Amendment, and decided it would be great theatre to bring semi-automatic carbines into family restaurants. Waving the yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, a common sight at Tea Party rallies, OCT members handed out leaflets, proclaimed their rights to carry weapons and confronted citizens who had little desire to be in a place where civilians were carrying weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, any … Continue reading

Insanity Extends Beyond the Shooters

    by Walter Brasch   During this past week, in Scranton, Pa., a 16-year old put two bullets into the head of a taxi driver and then stole about $500 earned by the cabbie that evening. The teen, who showed no remorse when arrested a few hours later, mumbled a few words about his reasons. He said he murdered the cabbie “’Cause that’s what I do to people that don’t listen.” The teen thought the cabbie was taking too long to get him to his destination. The driver was a 47-year-old man with a wife and two children. The gun was an unlicensed 9-mm. A few days later, in Payson, Ariz., a three-year-old boy found a loaded semi-automatic gun … Continue reading